Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

10 Rules for Postmodern Rioting

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The peaceful protests against the terrible brutalization and death of George Floyd soon either themselves turned violent or, in many cases, were hijacked by Antifa operatives and opportunistic looters or both. It was certainly not as alleged a “small number” who destroyed swaths of New York, Santa Monica, Minneapolis, or Philadelphia.

After watching hours of such footage of mayhem and destruction, one can glean a few rules that the rioters apparently followed quite religiously. And they are often disconcerting if not bizarre. Here is a sample of 10.

Rule No. 1: Selfies 

In our culture of narcissism, rioters seemed intent on obsessing with their smartphones, often to capture their criminality with as many selfies as possible, as well as recording friends’ crimes in action. It was almost as if looting was envisioned as performance art.

Was the logic that there is always time to steal and burn, but not so much to capture oneself momentarily breaking and entering for posterity? Why would anyone take time to record the act of lighting up a store or kicking in a window? Is the postmodern assumption that when one posts these revolutionary acts on Facebook, some Hollywood talent agent in his Malibu home gym might spot the scene in cyberspace of shattering glass or defacing the Lincoln Monument and Skype his interest therein in a future actor? Are there stars born among the flames?

Rule No. 2: Masks

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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